The solutions entered in the New Tree bioeconomy competition ranged from a product developed to treat urinary and prostate symptoms to a heat-resistant paper baking dish to ice-cream flavoured with pine.
This was the second time that the competition was organised. The winner of the category Conscious Consumption was a wood-based alternative for cotton created by the Spinnova company. The invention was considered brilliant especially in terms of global sustainable development.
An example of the many advantages of the material is that the manufacturing process is non-toxic. The company has also gone a long way towards developing its process for industrial use.
However, what is crucial for the the success of this product is its price and acceptance among consumers. The latter is helped along by the fact that the material has a good potential to replace cotton, the production of which is extremely unecological. At the same time, agricultural land can be released to food production.
In the category Changes in Population Structure the winner was a product developed by the Montisera company from spruce extract to prevent and treat lower urinary tract symptoms. So far, however, the product has not been tested on humans.
Nevertheless, the competition jury considered that demand for the product could increase owing to the ageing of the population in many countries. The product also illustrates the varying potentials of the different components of wood.
In the category Scarcity of Resources the winners were LigniOx and CatLignin, two products developed by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. They both represent new uses for lignin, at the moment most often incinerated for bioenergy.
LigniOx is used to increase the fluidity of concrete. It can be used to replace oil-based chemicals, thus decreasing the carbon footprint of concrete production. In the same way, the CatLignin glue can be used to replace oil-based and toxic products.
In the Urbanization category the winner was the barrier boxboard developed by the Kotkamills company. This boxboard is waterproof without a plastic coating. Thus it is fully compostable and no fossil-based plastics are needed in its production.
Honorary awards were also distributed
The New Tree 2017 competition looked for best solutions utilizing wood or components of wood which respond to at least one challenge arising from the global phenomena scarcity of resources, urbanization, changes in population structure, digitalization and conscious consumption.
The competition was first organised in 2014, attracting dozens of solutions utilizing wood. The winner of the first competition was a fabric made of birch.
This time round, the steering group of the New Tree Project decided also to distribute honorary awards. They were given to a foodstuffs packaging solution by DS Smith, a baking dish by Metsä Tissue and a fish packaging solution by Stora Enso.
The baking dish by Metsä Tissue is made of wood fibre. It is particularly designed to replace disposable aluminium tins. It requires no greasing before use and can be incinerated after use.
The EcoFishBox by Stora Enso is made of paperboard, yet waterproof, and can be used to carry fish packed in ice, for example. When empty, the package can be opened up to a flat sheet and then easily re-folded to make a box. The package is designed to replace conventional fish boxes made of polystyrene foam.
The New Tree competition was open to all companies and organisations. A total of 21 entries were submitted. The principal sponsor of the New Tree Project and the competition is the Finnish Forest Foundation.